State law allows the University to utilize Tennessee Statewide Contracts (SWCs). State law also allows the University to utilize “cooperative contracts,” provided that the cooperative contract was procured by a government agency following similar solicitation processes that UT would follow if it were to do its own solicitation. Further, state law allows UT to utilize U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) schedules. The GSA regulations limits state-government agencies to Schedules 70 contracts and to certain Schedule 84 contracts. Most people in the procurement community refer to utilizing a cooperative or GSA contract as “piggybacking” on the particular contract.
For various reasons, piggybacking on a cooperative contract is not always in UT’s best interest. Procurement retains sole discretion to reject the use of a cooperative or a GSA Schedule for any reason. Utilizing a cooperative can create challenges, some of which are problematic under state law. Departments must first contact Abbie Shellist (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss utilizing a cooperative. Abbie can help you understand whether utilizing a cooperative is a good choice for you. Not every cooperative meets the state’s legal requirements (for example, the cooperative E&I sometimes issues sole-source contracts, which state law does not allow UT to “piggyback” on).
A few key points:
- Not every cooperative contract meets the state-law requirement.
- UT can never exceed the time-frame in the cooperative contract. If the cooperative contract expires on July 31, 2021, UT cannot exceed that end date. Sometimes, vendors will try to confuse the issue by claiming that they will honor the pricing beyond that date. The issue is not pricing; rather, the issue is the time-frame allowed in the original solicitation.
- The cooperative contract (when it meets all legal requirements) only addresses the need for UT to publicly solicit for goods and services. Even when utilizing a cooperative contract, UT must still do a contract or PO using UT’s terms and conditions.
A few common cooperatives are listed below:
The list above is not a comprehensive list of the cooperatives that UT may use. Please consult with Abbie Shellist before proceeding.